Fifteen Spatulas

Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Shortbread Bars

a square of strawberry swirled cheesecake shortbread crust bars

You may have noticed that Fifteen Spatulas has been a bit devoid of desserts lately.

And I really have no explanation, except that I’ve somehow fallen out of love with dessert as a general category of food. It’s very bizarre, and my husband has many times questioned me in a “who are you and what did you do with the Joanne I knew” kind of way whenever I glance over a dessert menu at a restaurant and pass on dessert altogether.

I think the real explanation is that I’ve realized there are a lot of desserts not worth eating. I’ve been buckling down on controlling my weight and eating habits (down 3.5 lbs in a month, woohoo!) and eating dessert is a very quick way to use up your calories. If I’m going to eat a dessert, it has to be dang good, because I’m only going to allow myself a small piece of it. And if I lose my self control and eat a little more than I should, well, at least it was dang good and maybe slightly arguable that it was worth it.

freshly whipped cheesecake filling for strawberry swirl cheesecake shortbread bars

Cheesecake will always fall in that ‘dang good’ category for me. Something about cheesecake just jives with my tastebuds.

I know this because whenever I make it, the spatula always gets licked. So do the beaters. Never waste cheesecake.

spreading creamy cheesecake filling onto shortbread crust

This cheesecake is one of those quick fix versions, because it doesn’t require baking in a water bath or anything. Basically just make a shortbread crust, then spread on a simple cheesecake filling, and swirl in strawberry jam.

strawberry jam swirled cheesecake shortbread bars in square dish

Bake, and eat! Oh, and FYI, sometimes I like to press chocolate chips into the cheesecake before I pop it into my mouth. It’s good and tastes kind of like these cookie dough cheesecake bars that I also love!

More Cheesecake on Fifteen Spatulas:

Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

Mini Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust and Raspberry Sauce

Sweet Potato Swirled Cheesecake with Pecan Crust

Chocolate Cheesecake Candy Cane Bars

Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars

Yield: one 8x8 pan


For the shortbread crust:
12 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
10 oz flour (2 cups)
For the cheesecake:
16 oz cream cheese, softened (2 blocks)
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp high quality strawberry jam


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Start with the shortbread crust. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream together the butter, confectioner's sugar, sea salt, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Add the flour and mix until just combined. It will be crumbly, and that's fine. Press the shortbread crumbles into an 8x8 square baking pan with your fingertips. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a little bit golden brown, then let it cool completely on a wire rack.

Make the cheesecake by whipping together the cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla extract with a hand mixer. Whip the ingredients until combined, but take care not to overmix. Spread the cheesecake filling evenly over the cooled shortbread crust. Add plops of strawberry jam and swirl it into the cheesecake filling. Bake the cheesecake for 25-30 minutes until the cheesecake has set. Let the cheesecake cool to room temperature, then refrigerate before serving. When ready to serve, cut into bars and enjoy!


16 comments on “Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Shortbread Bars

  1. I am on such a strawberry kick lately, these look so tasty!

  2. I am with you, dessert had better be amazing if I am going to indulge! These bars look like they would definitely be worth it!

  3. I do love desserts but I agree that it has to be worth the calories and many are not. Cheesecake is ALWAYS worth the calories! :)

  4. These bars definitely look like they are worth indulging in!

  5. Fall out of love with dessert?! The horror! I’m down 16 lbs. since January (through Weight Watchers), and cutting down my dessert consumption is easily the hardest thing I’ve had to do since committing to healthy eating. I definitely couldn’t be left alone with these cheesecake bars . . .

  6. I have such a problem with self control and dessert! I would inhale these so fast!

  7. ….yeah, no matter how hard I try, I’m never going to be able to diet. There’s just so much good food, (and desserts! I frankly love ALL desserts) and I’d rather exercise than cut down on my precious food consumption. 😉

    That said, this looks fantastic! 😀

  8. I could never be trusted with such delicious desserts around!

  9. Cheesecake is always good but I am with you about empty calories which don’t even taste that good. It’s so disappointing on so many levels.

  10. Oh my, don’t these look great! I like cheesecake bars and these look very special.

  11. I’m the same! I was just thinking the other day, when’s the last time I made a treat? I think i’ve just been so overloaded with treats everywhere that I haven’t wanted to make any. Lovethis though. Fruit desserts are my thing

  12. They look so good! I made something last week with cream cheese + jam and was a very happy girl. I love the pale pink color of yours…so pretty for spring and summer!

  13. I have a recipe for something similar, but with key lime cheesecake – but I’ve always wanted to try it with STRAWBERRIES!!! Looks YUMMY, can’t wait to try!!! Um, and I’ve totally salivated over the chocolate chip cookie cheesecake bars. Dang 3.5 lbs. UGH!!!

    • Hey Katie, I LOVE key lime desserts, that sounds awesome!! I have a hard time finding key limes now that I don’t live in Florida anymore. When I do find them I always snatch them up =)

  14. OH! And, my mama just got me that plate for Christmas! 😉 #twinsies

  15. If you add a little bit of lemon juice or even a couple drops of lemon essential oil (if your an Essential Oils mama) it taste more like a baked cheesecake.

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